Enterprise Resource Planning Blogs by SAP
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Welcome to the first of three blogs in a series of blogs to dispel myths about Cloud ERP. Today we will debunk the myth that Cloud ERP can’t adapt to my needs and is hard to implement.

A deep thought is widespread among some stakeholders that Cloud ERP does not allow personalization, that one single solution should meet all customers’ demands. For big companies which need control of their solutions, one rigid template would hinder a migration to the Cloud.

For SAP, the customer journey has always been equally important as function & feature hence it is also a good opportunity to highlight the tremendous progress happening inside SAP S/4HANA Cloud with every release in the line-of-business and industry footprint. Each release enhances the solution capabilities and increases the configuration flexibility, impacting areas like Finance, Manufacturing and Digital Supply Chain.

A public cloud project always starts with a Fit2Standard which drive faster time to value and productivity and reflects a general mindset for public cloud projects. Nevertheless, customers do have a need for individualization and process design aside the delivered standard.

Native Extensibility and increased configuration flexibility

To go beyond the capabilities of business configuration, the experience gained from various customer and partner projects has made one thing very clear: most SAP S/4HANA Cloud systems have been extended to fulfill customers’ needs. As business processes are quickly changing, extensibility projects need to be fast and efficient. For this reason, SAP S/4HANA Cloud supports either of the following approaches to extensibility: in-app and side-by-side extensibility.

In-app extensibility allows to extend and adapt within the software stack and makes field or application logic extensibility possible. There is no need for any external tool.

To even increase in-app extensibility SAP made significant investments on SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) ABAP Environment. SAP offers a powerful Cloud offering for all ABAP experienced customers and partners, no matter the use case.

The concept widens in-app extensibility techniques by providing an on-stack ABAP development platform to create custom code. SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) ABAP Environment increases options to fulfill customers’ demands by including:

  • a dedicated stable public interface between platform and solutions on top, ensuring upgrades without hiccups

  • an enterprise-ready environment for Cloud development, including a new ABAP language version and the ABAP RESTful Application Programming Model (RAP)

  • a Cloud-ready runtime environment with BTP integration, standardized system updates and configuration, and automated operation

  • an attractive extension option for our current customer base


On the other hand, the Side-by-side extensibility approach on SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) uses all the capabilities of a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and is suitable for extensibilities which should better be stored in a separate application for a facilitated upgradability (dependent extensions or custom application development).

Let’s have a look at the roadmap and what awaits us soon. Another piece will be added to the toolbox to increase the flexibility of your menu: The Developer Extensibility based on SAP S/4HANA Cloud ABAP Environment. In a near future, customer code ABAP development or partner extensions will be possible directly on SAP S/4HANA Cloud stack.

A cloud landscape that enables complex customers for broader extensions

One further strategic investment for this quarter is that SAP runs an early adoption program for a SAP S/4HANA Cloud 3-system landscape, also find information here. By adding a development system where customers are doing their configuration, we are evolving the landscape to allow for a further separation between configuration/development and test environments.

Using the SAP S/4HANA Cloud ABAP environment, customers with a 3-system landscape can create advanced coding projects based on development objects that SAP has released for this purpose. This new architecture decouples the software and content life cycles, resulting in minimized disruption (including blue-green deployment with minimized downtime), reduced upgrade complexity, and sufficient flexibility and time to adopt and adjust desired business processes.

Thus, we are decoupling the SAP software, custom code & content lifecycle to minimize disruption including zero-downtime procedure, reduce complexity of the upgrade process and provide customers sufficient flexibility and time to adopt and adjust desired business processes.

Let’s summarize the possibilities offered to SAP S/4HANA Cloud customers to adapt their bright new product to their needs:

  • Increase of the configuration flexibility

  • Native last mile extensibility

  • A landscape to manage broader extensions


A framework and a solution to enable the Digital Transformation

How should the customers articulate these possibilities as part of their implementation journey and get the most of them?

SAP Activate is the innovation adoption framework that expedites SAP S/4HANA implementations throughout the customer lifecycle. It is easy to navigate and brings together ready-to-run SAP Best Practices, a clear and proven methodology and Deployment Tools. It also structures the tasks related to configuration and extensibility in specific phases and workstreams.

The SAP Activate Framework enables a fast product delivery – have a look at how customer Cewe implemented S/4HANA Public Cloud in less than 6 months! They had the challenge to not miss the year end season business and launch a new IT platform in time for the Christmas season. A non-movable compelling event with a six-month deadline. The essence of their project was to create a foundation for growth towards a billion - dollar company.

Whatever your starting point is (legacy SAP system, other solutions), one specific transition path will fit to ones needs.

In addition to that, a brand-new, cloud-based solution supports, accelerates, and optimizes the implementation of S/4HANA Public Cloud: SAP Cloud Application Lifecycle Management (ALM).

SAP Cloud ALM uses an agile and task-centric implementation concept which is aligned with SAP Activate Framework. The solution supports project management by orchestrating the implementation tasks based on a template and adapted to customer scope. It also supports Fit-to-standard workshops with a clear visualization of business processes, includes an automation tool for testing and integrates reporting/analytics capabilities.

Overview of SAP Cloud ALM


SAP Extensibility Explorer: https://extensibilityexplorer.cfapps.eu10.hana.ondemand.com/ExtensibilityExplorer/

Customer Example on Extensibility: Best Practice and Agile – How Does That Go Together? Differentiating Processes Are the Flip Side of ...

SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) ABAP Environment: https://blogs.sap.com/2021/09/30/steampunk-is-going-all-in/

SAP Activate Roadmap Viewer: https://go.support.sap.com/roadmapviewer/

SAP Activate for RISE with SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition: https://blogs.sap.com/2021/05/16/rise-with-sap-customers-gain-value-using-sap-activate/

SAP S/4HANA Cloud 3-system landscape:  https://news.sap.com/2021/10/sap-s4hana-cloud-2111-innovating-business-futures/


Link to part #2:



Inside SAP S/4HANA Podcast

As always, I would like to encourage you to subscribe to our podcast “Inside SAP S/4HANA”. This podcast leverages the unique knowledge and expertise of SAP S/4HANA product experts, partners, and customers to address your needs by sharing product insights and project best practice. There is no customer success without product success and project success; we help you get to the next level and make your SAP S/4HANA projects a success. Subscribe now and benefit from the shared knowledge.

openSAP microlearnings for SAP S/4HANA

Just a couple of months ago, we launched openSAP microlearnings for SAP S/4HANA as an exciting new learning opportunity. What began with a small batch of 20 videos, has now become a channel with more than 50 microlearnings that have generated over 20,000 views since then. Today we cover multiple lines of business, like Finance and Manufacturing & Supply Chain, and key technology topics like Master Data Management, Extensibility, User Experience, and Upgrade Management. We are continuously adding new microlearnings to the SAP S/4HANA channel, so make sure you check them out.

Your Voice Matters!

If you want to learn more and actively engage with SAP subject matter experts on SAP S/4HANA Cloud, join our SAP S/4HANA Cloud Community – now fully integrated with SAP Community. The community brings together SAP S/4HANA Cloud customers, partners and SAP experts and has a clear mission: deliver an interactive community to engage with one another about best practices and product solutions. We invite you to explore the new SAP S/4HANA Cloud Community ‘one-stop shop’ as the central place for all resources, tools, content questions, answers and connect with experts to guide you through your SAP S/4HANA Cloud journey.

For more information on SAP S/4HANA Cloud, check out the following links: 

  • The power of best-in-class and Next Practices business content for a modern ERP blog post

  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud: The Intelligent ERP blog post

  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud: New Product Releases here

  • Latest SAP S/4HANA Cloud Release blog posts here

  • SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation Content here

  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud release info: http://www.sap.com/s4-cloudrelease

  • SAP S/4HANA PSCC Digital Enablement Wheel here

  • Inside SAP S/4HANA Podcast here

  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud Community here

  • SAP Activate Community here

  • Best practices for SAP S/4HANA Cloud here

  • Help Portal Product Page here

Also check a blog from my distinct colleague venkataraghu.banda  here.


Follow us via @Sap and #S4HANA, or myself via @SDenecken